What’s in a Meme?

I have to start with an apology. Recently, joined a forum discussion in one of my PIDP classes on self-directed learning. Joined is a loose word. I jumped in with the spirit of an internet troll starting the discussion completely off topic, but eventually connected it back to the main topic: self directed learning.

In the forum, someone jokingly asked what a “meme” stood for anyways. I jumped in explaining that a meme is a cultural concept or idea that is passed from one person to the next. This term was originally coined by evolutionary psychology Richard Dawkins. While an internet meme is slightly different, the core concept is similar, but often involves an element of mimicry. What occurred to me when I saw the posting referring to memes is that they are a great demonstration of self-directed learning. Sure some memes just circulate via shares, but many people use meme generators to express their feeling about an issue or as a way to articulate current events or difficult concepts.

Not only are they an example of self-directed learning, they are an example of learning at it’s highest level, as it involves creating and evaluating learning.

Aside from it’s self-directed learning qualities, it would make a great addition to the classroom. In my management background, I have used memes a lot. Sometimes when communicating a new procedure or policy, I will include a meme in the email. I also used meme creation as an engagement technique by holding contests for best work-related meme. Employees loved these contests. Not only did it engage them, but many used memes as an outlet to express frustration or other emotions on particular issues or cases they were dealing with. These contests often helped me gauge general team morale too. When submissions dwindled, this sometimes meant we needed a team booster.

So while memes seem like a goofy internet phenomena, there can be a lot more to them and they can be used as a tool in the classroom.

The least I can do for starting as a innocent troll is raise visits to my classmates blog. Please visit: https://davidvisentinblog.wordpress.com/


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